UK start-up Digital Communication Technologies has designed a Java byte code processor based on the ARCtangent-A4 32bit risc core. The company claims the processor achieves better Java performance than ARM Holdings' Jazelle technology but still at the same clock frequency.
The core, known as Bigfoot, complements DCT's established offering, a Java and C-language processor based on a stack architecture, known as Lightfoot.
Lightfoot has been available since mid-1999 as intellectual property (IP) suitable for downloading on to an FPGA. DCT executives now expect to have a Bigfoot-based microcontroller in foundry silicon by December and a Lightfoot microcontroller in silicon in January 2002.
But DCT is not yet a license-holder for the ARCtangent-A4, an architecture developed by ARC International. DCT created Bigfoot for Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe under Fujitsu's ARC licence.
Tony Webster, DCT chief executive, said: "We're in di scussion with ARC on licensing. We've added several thousand gates to the ARC core, thereby Java-enabling it."
DCT has retained the IP around its Java extension to ARC and expects to sell Java microcontrollers for embedded applications based on both Bigfoot and Lightfoot cores.
Peter Clarke is European correspondent for US sister newspaper EETimes.